I don’t keep quiet about the fact that I love rhubarb. At this time of year, I want to use its forced ruby red stems in just about everything – currently, I have a 2kg box ready to be made into jam, the syrup reserved for cordials and jellies, some of the stems chopped up and ready to be folded into a pie crust or pie filling, plus some retainer to poach for my breakfast. Today’s pie is slightly different than American: the crust is short and sweet, rather than salty and flaky, and for ease, I bake it in a round, shallow pan and serve straight up with some cold cream.
Rhubarb and apple tart
Homework 30 minutes
Cool 1 hour
Cook 50 minutes
It serves 8
for the pastry shop
280 g plain flour
140 g cold unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
80g golden brown sugar
3 egg yolksplus a whole egg for washing the eggs
demerara sugarto sprinkle
For the filling
400g bramley applespeeled and cut into 3 cm cubes
190g powdered sugar
200g rhubarbcut into 3 cm pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon almond extract
20 g of cornmeal
For the dough, put everything except the eggs and demerara into a stand mixer and mix on low speed until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and mix again until it comes together in a dough; be careful not to overwork. Flatten the dough into a rough circle, then wrap and chill for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, put all the filling ingredients except the cornstarch in a bowl and mix, massaging the sugar into the fruit so that the flavors meld and macerate.
Heat oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Take dough out of fridge for 10 minutes to soften, and butter a 26cm round pie plate or pie ring (I used a pan shallow, which worked very well). Roll out two-thirds of the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 4-5mm and place it on the buttered pan, pressing it down at the edges and leaving a little overhang. Remove any excess dough with a rolling pin or sharp knife.
Stir the cornmeal into the fruit mixture until well incorporated, then tip the batch into the base of the dough.
Roll out the rest of the dough until it is the same thickness as the base. Brush the egg over the edges of the dough in the dish and carefully place the lid on top. Seal all around the edges by gently pushing the two together.
Poke a small slit in the center of the top of the cake to allow steam to escape while it bakes, then brush the entire top with beaten egg. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar, then bake for about 50 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the tart from the oven, let it rest for 20 minutes, then cut into portions and serve warm with cold cream or custard.